06 January 2010

German fashion mag bans MODELS!

We know there’s a recession on, but will Kate Moss, Lily Cole and Jourdan Dunn all be joining the misery queues outside the job centre this year? Well they will if German magazine Brigitte’s new casting policy catches on in a big way.

Last year saw designer Mark Fast put plus sized girls on his catwalk, V magazine is currently showcasing plus-size model Crystal Renn, the Guardian's Weekend magazine regularly pictures models aged up to 70 in its shoots and, this week, Grazia’s cover girl is 44-year-old Sadie Frost!

mark fast ss10

Now one of Germany’s best-selling women’s titles has responded to 20,000 reader complaints about super-skinny models on fashion pages by using only non-models (selected from readers who applied to be featured) in its January issue. A receptionist, a teacher and a restaurant owner have all been styled and made up to replace the usual agency fare, who, according to the editor Andreas Lebert, were sometimes so slight they needed a bit of photoshopping to beef them up.

Fashion’s favourite pantomime villain, Chanel overlord Karl Lagerfeld, infamously declared last year, 'Nobody wants to see a round woman,' and that anyone who criticises thin models is 'a fat, chip-eating mummy' (!) Meanwhile, there will surely be others who say that by using slim, young, pretty readers as models, Brigitte doesn’t go far enough. What’s to be done?

Let’s remember that fashion is a business, so if designers and editors see their products rise in popularity due to a particular choice of model, then they are likely to promote (or at least include) that vision rather than one that their customers complain about. Voilà! Exhibit A: this week’s Grazia, where an un-retouched Sadie Frost bares everything! And she’s (albeit a very glam) working mum of four.

Just spare a thought for those poor professional models, though. They have been chosen for their slim shape – they didn’t ask for the industry to be this way. Now what will happen? Will they all have to move in with Karl at the Chanel mansion when they can no longer afford to pay the rent? [independent]


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